This matter boils down to an adult American citizen in a foreign
country (Nigeria) who has in effect lost all his documentation and
perhaps money, and now needs to return to the States as soon as
possible. Believe it or not, this is not that uncommon an occurrence,
although it is very serious. I will outline the necessary steps (as
recommended by the U.S. government, with contact information) your
friend will need to take at this time. Getting in touch with your
friend sounds as though it may be difficult, but I can tell you what
he needs to do in order to return to the U.S.A. given his lack of
documentation and funds.
First lets be clear on your friends situation: he has two distinct
barriers to overcome in order to return to the United States:
1. He needs to have his passport replaced
2. He needs some form of payment for transportation back to America.
The first item is the more important, for even with money, one cannot
enter the U.S without valid documentation. Also, even if someone such
as yourself established communication with your friend and wanted to
wire him money in Africa, he cannot pick up the wired funds without
Do not allow yourself to get caught up in the story aspect of how your
friend came to be in this situation when contacting any authorities,
such as U.S. Consulate officialsthe simple fact is that for whatever
reason, your friend is a U.S. citizen in a foreign country with no ID
whatsoever, and no money. In this situation, you must ask the
consulate, what must this individual do in order to return to the
Basically, your friend needs to go immediately to the nearest U.S.
consulate in Nigeria, or whichever country he is in now. Visiting a
U.S. Consulate is his first step towards returning to America.
Here is a link to the U.S. Consulates webpage entitled, WHAT SHOULD
A U.S. CITIZENS DO IF THEIR PASSPORT IS LOST OR STOLEN ABROAD?:
[ http://travel.state.gov/lost_passports_abroad.html ].
The steps outlined here will have to be completed by your friend
before he can return to the U.S., no ifs ands or buts. He needs to go
straight to the nearest U.S. consulate, right now. There is nothing
you or anyone can do for your friend to circumvent this step. Even if
you personally traveled to Africa yourself and found your friend, you
could not bring him back to America with you unless *he* first
completes the steps outlined on the U.S. consulate website above.
Pay attention to the following part of the instructions from the
The consular officer taking an application for replacement of a lost,
stolen, or misplaced passport must be reasonably satisfied as to your
identity and citizenship before issuing the replacement. In virtually
all cases this can be done through examination of whatever citizenship
and identity documents are available, conversations with the
applicant, close observation of demeanor and replies to questions
asked, and discussions with the applicants traveling companions or
contacts in the United States.
You could serve in the capacity as a contact in the United States
for your friend, if you are able to be in contact with him. If you are
not able to be in contact with him, then that is another matter
altogether, and your friend will have to explain this to the Consulate
official he visits.
Also of importance:
You will be asked for certain information to assist in verifying your
1. Personal Data: (including, but not limited to)
date of birth
place of birth
passport number (if available)
date and place where your passport was issued
If you can provide the U.S. embassy or consulate with a photocopy of
your passport identification page, that will make getting a new
passport easier since your citizenship and identity information would
be more readily available.
If your friend does not actually know all of this information, he
needs to carefully explain why he does not know it, while also
explaining everything that he absolutely does know, to the consulate
official. You (and your friend!) should definitely read this page
[http://travel.state.gov/lost_passports_abroad.html ] in its entirety.
The information below contains a phone number for the U.S. Consulate
you yourself can call, for emergencies of the type you have described:
If you are traveling alone and do not know anyone in the foreign
country who can attest to your identity, your family, friends, or
associates in the U.S. may contact the consular officer by phone or
fax confirming your identity. This is usually quite informal. In
emergency situations, your contacts may also communicate with the U.S.
Department of State, that Overseas Citizens Services
[http://travel.state.gov/overseas_citizens.html ], (202) 647-5225.
I recommend that you call this number and explain that you are looking
for your friend who needs to replace his passport immediately, and
that you would like to leave your phone number in the U.S.A. as a
contact to affirm his identity, should he come in to the U.S.
Consulate Office in Nigeria (or neighboring countries).
Here is the main website for the U.S. Consulate in Nigeria:
Heres the direct contact information for the U.S. COnsulate in
Nigeria from the above site:
The U.S. Embassy is located at 9 Mambilla, Maitama District, Abuja.
The telephone number is (9) 523-0916. The Internet address for
the US Embassy in Nigeria is http://usembassy.state.gov/nigeria. The
U.S. Consulate General is located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent,
Victoria Island, Lagos. American citizens can call 011 (1)
261-1215 during office hours (7:30 a.m. to 4p.m.). For after-hours
emergencies, call 011  (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078,
261-0139, or 261-6477. The e-mail address for the Consular Section in
Lagos is Lagoscons2@state.gov.
Should you need contact information for a U.S. Consulate or Embassy in
a country other than Nigeria (for example, if you wanted to make sure
your friend hasnt ended up in a neighboring country, and wanted to
phone U.S. Consulates of neighboring nations to leave a message),
visit the following U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular
Affairs webpage for an alphabetical list of U.S. Consulates in all
[ http://travel.state.gov/links.html ].
Also, should your friend not have available funds for the passport
replacement processing, and also for travel to return to the U.S., the
American Citizen Services and Crisis Management unit of the U.S.
Consular does sometimes provide financial aid (i.e. loans to return to
the U.S.) to destitute Americans in foreign countries.
From The Office of Overseas Citizens ServicesWhen You Need Help
webpage [http://travel.state.gov/overseas_citizens.html ]:
If destitute, Americans can turn to a U.S. consular officer abroad for
help. ACS will help by contacting the destitute person's family,
friends, or business associates to raise private funds. It will help
transmit these funds to destitute Americans.
ACS transfers approximately 3 million dollars a year in private
emergency funds. It can approve small government loans to destitute
Americans abroad until private funds arrive.
ACS also approves repatriation loans to pay for destitute Americans'
direct return to the U.S. Each year over $500,000 are loaned to
Hopefully, your friend has already realized he needs to take these
steps, and hes already begun. If not, or just to be safe, you can
attempt to contact him to relay what he needs to do. Your best friend
in this matter will be the telephone. Call the U.S. consulate in
Nigeria and explain that youre looking for a friend who might be
missing. Give them whatever information they ask for.
After that, you might try calling police stations (the phone numers of
these will be available by calling rhe U.S. Consulate in Nigeria,
whose number is above)to ask them to call you should they hear
anything regarding your friend, because you wish to help. Finally, you
might call some hotels in different areas and ask if he has checked
in, or if you think he might stay thereask them to leave a message
from you if he does register there. Put the word out. Do not waste
time. Nigeria is not a safe place to be with no identification or
Google search strategy:
US consulate Nigeria
US citizen foreign travel emergency assistance:
Please do not hesitate to ask for Clarification if you require any
further explanation or assistance.
I wish your friend the best of luck for a safe return to the United
Google Answers Researcher